TRESE: Pecha Kucha Short Story

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On March - 3 - 2010

I had no idea what on earth a Pecha Kucha was (but if I were forced to guess, I would have said “Tibetan curse word”), which means I can chalk up one more thing I’ve learned because of komiks. Pecha Kucha is a forum for presentations which are kept concise by adherence to the simple formula of 20 images x 20 seconds. (All in favor of a similar formula for mass homilies say aye!) Trese writer Budjette Tan gave a presentation at last year’s event, a a 6 minute 40 second Trese short story, which he recently uploaded for the reading pleasure of Trese fans everywhere. Thanks Budjette!

Memorable Characters from Philippine Speculative Fiction

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 27 - 2010

This Saturday, 30 January 2010, I’ll be one of the speakers at the Project 20:10 launch at the Ateneo High School Fair. (For those interested in the project, the first part of my interview with Ria Lu is up on Metakritiko today.) I’ll be talking about creating paranormal characters, so I thought it might be a good warm up to talk about a few more-than-human characters from Philippine Speculative fiction and komiks who I’ve found to be memorable, and to try to analyze why I found them memorable. These aren’t necessarily my favorite characters mind you, as that’s largely a matter of reader preference/affinity for particular personalities… but whether or not the reader remembers the character is, I think, something a tad more objective, and a more universal goal for creators to aspire to.

That being said, this is still a personal and subjective aggregation (and in no way comprehensive), so please feel free to suggest others in the comments.

(Images from the slider image are attributed below)



Key words: Unity of Elements.

Why I remember him: While the fact I was so young when I first saw him is certainly a factor (nothing takes so permanent an impression as a child’s mind), the striking–yet simple–character design is probably what makes Zuma such a memorable character. While it would take years for special effects and costume technology to reach the point where heroes such as Batman and Spiderman could be rendered on-screen in a non-campy way, the 1985 Zuma film pretty much nailed its title character–not that difficult a task really, since all they needed to do was shave Max Laurel’s head, dye him green, and give him a two-headed snake. Yet those three elements were enough to convey the other-ness, the power and the malice which defined Zuma as a villain. While his costume, so to speak, is basic, every aspect of it was geared towards producing a singular impression.

(Image source: Artwork by Gilbert Monsanto)

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Chained Links: 15 January 2010

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On January - 15 - 2010

Still adjusting to my new schedule, and trying to balance Metakritiko editing/writing duties with Rocket Kapre and my own fiction, and couple that with my Internet outage (attributable to my router dying apparently) and that means I’ve been a bit behind on my news-of-relevance-to-Pinoy-SF… but that’s nothing a Chained Links post can’t fix!


Philippine Spec Fic News:

  • Lola: A Ghost Story (with a story by J. Torres and art by Elbert Or) is a graphic novel from Oni Books that tells the story of a boy who returns with his family to the Philippines for the funeral of his grandmother. Elbert says it should be out in comics stores this week, so you all know what you’re shopping for this weekend. You can check out some reviews at School Library Journal and Comic Book Resources, or check out the 17 page preview at the sites Elbert mentions here.
  • A list of indigenous tribes and languages of the Philippines by F. Blumentritt which briefly describes each tribe’s location, culture and religion. Handy resource eh? (
  • Project 20:10 is a project with the two-fold mission of drumming up support for local creators, and increasing the amount of local content in fiction, comics, animation and gaming. I’ll have an interview with project organizer Ria Lu (of Talecraft fame) at Metakritiko soon, so watch out for that.
  • Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels Seminar by Glasshouse Graphics from January 30-31. You can find the details here – warning, the site has audio. (via Komikero)
  • Speaking of comics, komiks creator macoy (I recently reviewed his “Ang Maskot“) posts embedded video of a Kubori Kikiam motion comic (which is obviously NSFW) and an animated mock opening to “The Metro” by Jerome Jacinto –which, I confess, I’ve never heard of before, but it looks awesome.
  • The Philippines’ second solar car (there was a first?), aptly named Sikat (see what they did there? *nudge*) is embarking on a nationwide tour. (Good News Pilipinas)
  • Spirit Photography is the topic of a recent blog post of Spec Fic author Yvette Tan . Speaking of Yvette, have I mentioned that she plugs our Ruin and Resolve anthology here?
  • Trese 5000: No, that’s not a far-future story arc, it’s a sales figure estimate for books 1 and 3. Congratulations to Budjette, Kajo and Visprint on the continuing success of Trese.

Genre and Fandom:

  • The Bibliophile Stalker Awards 2009 went up last January 13, in case you missed it.
  • Neglected Books and Authors get some love over at
  • Fandom, Participatory Culture, and Web 2.0 is the title of a course which I’d love to take up, but as that’s unlikely to occur anytime soon, I’m glad that Professor Henry Jenkins has posted his syllabus at his site.

Reading and Writing:

New Trese Graphic Novella at Rogue

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On December - 7 - 2009


For all you Trese fans out there, a new novella entitled Masquerade (or Case File # 1031) has been uploaded to Rogue magazine, with a story by Trese scribe Budjette Tan and art by Mark Torres. It’s nice to see Trese stories appearing in different formats, and it does seem to allow for the possibility of more frequent releases of related content even when co-creator Kajo Baldisimo is busy/unavailable.

FHM Interviews Budjette Tan

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 20 - 2009

Budjette Tan has an interview up on FHM, which deals with his writing in general, as well as Underpass. You can find it here (somewhat NSFW of course, unless your boss will really believe you were at a Men’s mag site for the articles) or on Budjette’s blog here.


[Picture of Budjette sourced from the abovementioned FHM interview.]

Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award for 2009

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 20 - 2009

The UP Institute of Creative Writing and the Madrigal-Gonzalez family have just announced the nominees for the Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award for 2009, and we’re pleased to see recognition to the first Trese graphic novel (by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo), Murder on Balete Drive…  albeit the announcement/post up on seems to imply that it was not an easy decision (or at the very least whatever committee decided this knew that it might be taking some heat):

This year’s selection mirrors the changing landscape of Philippine literature as it includes the bestselling graphic novel Trese, a collaboration between Tan and Baldisimo—a possibly controversial inclusion among purist circles.


Also up for the award is Spec Fic author (well, more like “Boundaries? What boundaries?” author) Adam David’s “The El Bimbo Variations.” From Adam’s twitter feed, it also appears that this is also the first time a self-published book has been nominated. Changing landscape of Philippine literature indeed…


Congrats to Budjette, Kajo and Adam, as well as all the other nominees. You can see the full list here.

Talecraft Character Building Workshop: A Report

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 9 - 2009

For those of you, like myself, who were unable to attend the recent Character Building Workshop sponsored by Talecraft, author Erica Gonzales (who you might know from her Jumper Cable stories from the Digest of Philippine Genre Stories and Philippine Speculative Fiction IV) has graciously agreed to give us the low down on last Saturday’s event:

The Talecraft Character Workshop was held last November 7, 2009, at Powerbooks Greenbelt from 1-5 pm. Sponsored by Talecraft creator Ria Lu, it was graced by guest speakers Budjette Tan (best known for the “Trese” comic series), and Taga-Ilog (creator of the “Pasig” series in Culture Crash).

Budjette Tan spoke first and gave an example of a great character he admired as a child: Wolverine. The mysterious background and the antihero personality appealed to him, as well as to friends and classmates he met over the years. He discussed character development through various methods: making characters real; making characters do what you dream of doing yourself; and taking cues from conversations and personalities in real life.  Mr. Tan then used personal examples of his own adventures in character development: how Alexandra Trese is an amalgamation of heroes, how the Kambal were unconsciously derived from himself and his brother. [Ed. Note: Which makes me wonder which one Budjette takes after...]

Taga-Ilog also took this route in his own talk. He openly admitted that his routes to character development have not been conservative, but they worked for him nonetheless. He described his method in this way:  Environment, situation, and millieu came to him first, followed by the need for characters in the setting. He then talked about the common, time-tested character archetypes, giving examples from his childhood (which fortunately were also part of the childhood of many in the audience, who knew his references to Sailor Moon, Avatar, He-Man, and YuYu Hakusho / Ghost Fighter). He also gave examples of how element types can be used as a start for characterizations, and how twists in the archetypes can be utilized.
For this writer, at least, the examples were a great treat. Characterization comes from various inspirations and influences, and rarely in an organized manner. It was a wonderful thing being assured by those examples, that it’s perfectly alright to go about the process in your own way. It is a matter of knowing what to look for in a character, and using it when the right character comes.

Riu Lu gave the more nuts-and-bolts character development factors (physical features, base archetype, motives, etc.) and cited common mistakes in character-making, through a workshop. The participants were grouped together and given a set of Talecraft archetype cards and character
profile sheets. Using other methods or the provided card, participants are told to create characters that will form a team. Each group throws ideas and concepts, helping each member with their characters, making for interesting conversation and even more interesting characters.

It was a simple and informal workshop, yet meaningful and well-organized. It was a great way to spend an afternoon, meeting new creators and learning from more seasoned ones. I have hope that at least some of those wacky characters will find homes in stories and comics.

Many thanks to Erica for the guest post, and to Talecraft for what was apparently a very useful (and timely, what with NaNoWriMo) workshop.

Komix 7107: Issue 1

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On November - 6 - 2009

Komiks creators Budjette Tan, Kajo Baldisimo (Trese), Ian Sta Maria, Mervin Ignacio (Skyworld), and Paolo Fabregas (Filipino Heroes League) have put up a new blog called Komix 7107, a site where they will be posting their creations (samples, old projects, and new experiments) for free online. Three works are currently up in their first online anthology:

The complete first issue of SKYWORLD.


The complete story of THE LAST DATU, a project that Budjette and Kajo worked on before Trese

I’m glad to see komiks creators using (or continuing to use, as with the Trese gang) the web to gain greater exposure for their work. It’s also good to see the Last Datu more widely available. Best of luck to the creators and here’s hoping we can see more of their work online in the days to come.

Trese: The Devil’s Playground

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 31 - 2009


I can think of few better ways to celebrate Halloween than kicking back with a new Trese story–and that’s just what co-creator Budjette Tan has to offer us today, assisted by the photographs of Melvin Arciaga. Trese: The Devil’s Playground is a four page photocomic (fumetti) featuring, amongst other things, Trese’s youngest fan (or, well, the Kambal’s youngest fan as Budjette puts it).

Enjoy the comic and stay dry everyone!

Komikon 2009 in Pictures

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On October - 19 - 2009


Another year, another (non-summer) Komikon. It was great fun, as always, and holding it at the Megatrade Hall at SM Megamall made it easier to circulate from booth to booth, despite the fact that there were probably more people at yesterday’s event than at the Summer Komikon at UP.
The throngs of fans waiting for a ticket


I’m happy I finally had a reason to introduce myself to Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo (Trese), as well as Mervin Ignacio and Ian Sta. Maria (Skyworld) (Here’s an old review of Trese 1 and Skyworld 1 over at Komiks…). There were a lot of other Filipino creators present–both as participants at the con, and as fans–but as most of them were swamped with customers and admirers (or, as was the case with Gerry Alanguilan, frequently at center stage), I wasn’t able to meet as many as I would have liked; after all, it seemed kind of boorish to engage artists in fannish Q&As when they could be making sales–in other words, we need more panels guys!


Art Auction for the benefit of Typhoon Victims

However, I was–finally–able to meet Dado de Guzman (the fantastic young artist who designed the logo and banners for Rocket Kapre) as well as his fellow artist Maya, both of whom are part of the Artspice art group.

Picture 092

Sadly I wasn’t able to watch the Komikon awards, nor the Q&A with Budjette and Kajo (if anyone was able to attend and had any impressions–hints as to Book 4 maybe–please let us know in the comments). I was able to nab most of the komiks on my list however, so coupled with the time spent in an atmosphere of creativity and appreciation, it was a day well spent. The next big con is the Mangaholix  M3Con right? See you guys there ^_^

More Komikon pictures after the cut, but here are a few links to other posts on Komikon 2009, by fans and creators. If you know of any I’ve missed, or have posted one yourself which I did not include here, please let me know in the comments:

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About Me

Rocket Kapre is an imprint of Eight Ray Sun Publishing Inc. (a new Philippine-based publisher), dedicated to bringing the very best of Philippine Speculative Fiction in English to a worldwide audience by means of digital distribution. More info can be found at our About section at the top of the page.